Concerned Liberals 4

Dear Liberal Party member,
 
We write to you out of frustration and exasperation. As we see our beloved Party being brought to an ignominious low, we wonder how such unfit and flagrantly divisive figures could be allowed to run the Administrative Committee.
 
Recently (see postscript) we wrote a letter calling controversial two year President Robert Clark to retire with whatever dignity he retained. This counsel has fallen on deaf ears. Instead of doing the right thing, we now have a self-appointed (and self-serving) President ruling the Victorian Division of the Liberal Party.
 
We live in a new era where the rule of law has passed away and is buried. We are now a Labor-lite post-democracy, a Party wracked by the worst factionalism. The Admin team is completely obsessed with kicking out Party members.
 
To cap it all, we were made privy to a draft document which outlines Robert Clark’s ties with disgraced union boss John Setka. Robert Clark appointed the violent union boss to the board of the Building Industry Consultative Council, a paid government position! Yet Mr Setka was known to have made violent comments and harassed representatives from the Building and Construction Commission. How could a Liberal be found to be hand in glove with a CFMMEU thug who has been until recent times an instrumental supporter of Daniel Andrews? And Robert Clark gave him a job?!
 
Mr Clark is also heavily embroiled in the Casey Council Land saga, another well publicised matter of corruption which has been exposed by IBAC. Why has he escaped any scrutiny?
 
Further, on 7 December 2020 The Age reported there was evidence Robert Clark had conspired to bypass Victoria’s fundraising laws by allegedly designating membership payments to an out of state bank account. Violating the Electoral Act 2002 (Electoral Legislation Amendment 2018) carries stiff penalties of fines and jail time.
 
Questions must also be answered about Mr Clark’s involvement with a secretive communications fund which supplements the wages of a current shadow minister.
 
Besides these serious accusations, there are also internal scandals. For example, Robert Clark has spent multiple hundreds of thousands of dollars attempting to discover if his opponents have been branch-stacking while he has been photographed participating with branch-stacking activities run by aspiring firebrand Bill Rizopoulos.
 
Again, while Keith Wolahan is deserving of his new role, Robert Clark has breached both the Party Constitution and protocol by briefing against Kevin Andrews MP as part of a concerted campaign against conservative federal MPs. (Ironically, in the 1980s Mr Clark used to call himself a conservative. His positions and cover ups have become increasingly staggering. Now he has fallen out with Jeff Kennett, Michael Kroger, the entire Federal Ministry and most rank and file members of the Party in Victoria.) Mr Clark has exceeded even the wildest days of Damien Mantach’s misdemeanors by overtly excluding a large portion of the eligible members from participating at the Menzies electorate conference vote.
 
Why did Robert Clark approve Secretariat staff receiving JobKeeper payments when the Party receives its set multi-million dollar funding from the VEC? Enough is enough; perhaps Robert should change his name to Rort. Why does he have a State Director who, while receiving JobKeeper, was working at a casino and pub in Tasmania?
 
We thank Party members for sending in information which must come to light. As Nelson Mandela said, “Fools multiply when wise (wo)men are silent.” Very little important information is sent out from “104” these days, and Mr Clark’s flagrant lack of respect toward the democratic process is unconscionable. Every long-winded speech he gives he attempts to justify his arbitrary and dangerous plan to rewrite the Party’s constitution.
 
Our Committee encourages your Branches to discuss these matters, and to reinforce our commitment in upholding our Federal representatives. We are an informal group of Liberals who value good governance and accountability. We were formed in response to concerns arising from the management of our Party. Most of our members have been involved in the Party for decades.
 
Party members have shared your contact details with us, and if you wish to be removed from our lists, please let us know. If you did not wish to receive our correspondence, we apologise for including you. We have chosen not to publish our names as the Party’s current Administration has declared communications such as Concerned Liberals are punishable by expulsion.
 
Yours in Liberal fellowship,
 
Concerned Liberals Committee
 
OUR OPEN LETTER.
 
Dear Robert Clark,
 
We have lost faith in you. Please resign.
 
You were elected promising to unite our Party, instead we are more divided and self-focussed than ever.
 
You have lost the support of Josh Frydenberg MP, Greg Hunt MP, the Federal Parliamentary Party and many of your former colleagues in the State Parliamentary Party.
 
We are compelled to call on your resignation because of the Party wide emails you sent on the 27/11/20 and again on 17/12/20. Those emails have served as a damaging distraction in the media and brought our Party into disrepute.
 
Both emails were filled with profligate allegations and your personal interpretations. We believe both emails were sent to justify your investigation, which has failed to identify systemic and significant constitutional breaches or branch stacking.
 
You have declared that a constitutionally valid transfer of membership now represents a “deliberate circumvention of the Party’s constitution” or “branch stacking”. This is your interpretation, not a finding of KordaMentha. Your pretentious posturing is somewhat hypocritical, considering you chose to deliberately circumvent three valid petitions calling for an emergency State Council and a ballot on your position as President.
 
You have declared that you wish to “ensure the integrity of the Party’s membership records”, while at the same time supporting the election of Ian Quick as your Vice President who regularly published and circulated the damaging “Quick News” to thousands of members prior to the 2018 State election loss.
 
You have surmised that after-hours access to membership records is tantamount to breaching the Party’s Constitution, moreover you have impugned most of the secretariat staff by alleging they have inappropriately accessed the Party’s database. One would consider this a fairly standard practise for “Party staff members undertaking field work”.
 
The only substantive finding of the KordaMentha enquiry relates to the improper payment of membership fees. You say this is 170 memberships over the period of five years. Why not disclose how many of these are current members, and how many of these 170 have been multiple payments for the same member over those five years? You did not hesitate to provide in depth figures to justify your claims about “warehousing”.
 
There is a wide view among the membership that suspects the number of current members who have been improperly paid for is much less than 170. Your decision to inflate findings and present constitutional processes as breaches are acts of desperation to justify your decision to undertake this investigation. 
 
The four key subjects of your investigation – Kevin Andrews MP, Michael Sukkar MP, Mr Marcus Bastiaan and Mr Alex Lisov – have been cleared of wrongdoing leaving you with few scapegoats and a very large bill from KordaMentha.
 
Most concerning however is your conclusion which attempts to smear Party volunteers for the State election loss. As a shadow minister you were a senior member of the team that devised policy and ran the campaign. Blaming your loss on the Party organisation is reprehensible.
 
The Liberal Party has not paid a “heavy price” for 170 illegitimate membership payments, it has paid a heavy price for electing you as President.
 
Yours sincerely,
 
Concerned Liberals

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